Post-Holiday Blues

Post-Holiday Blues

Are They Real and How to Overcome Them
Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it’s happened! – Dr. Seuss
After the Christmas tree is taken down, the wreath removed from the front door, and the lights are packed away, a feeling of dread and loneliness can creep in.

Once the holidays stretching from Thanksgiving to New Year’s pass and the busyness stops, we sometimes feel let down. It can seem there’s nothing to look forward to as the dark days of winter loom before us.

This feeling of sadness is known as post-holiday blues, a genuine occurrence in the lives of many.

What are post-holiday blues and what causes them?

Post-holiday blues are similar to seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, but different from clinical depression.

Simply put, post-holiday blues are the feelings of anxiety, sadness, and depression that come up around the holidays. They’re triggered by the financial, emotional, and physical stress associated with this time of year.

Holidays affect people differently.

For some, they’re a chance to be with family and friends and are a source of joy. Still, for others, the holidays can be something entirely different where they suffer emotional exhaustion stemming from difficult relationships.

Sometimes the holidays are reminders of traumatic events and broken relationships which create feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Unrealistic expectations or memories connected to the holidays create sadness. For some people, the holidays are a source of pain or regret that stirs up feelings of loss.

The commercialization and financial strain of the holidays only add to the stress.

Not eating well and overindulging in sweet treats and rich foods can also send us spiraling downward.

Overcrowded schedules and frantic preparations lead to fatigue and affect our mood.

And then suddenly, the activities end. Just. like. that.

Post-holiday blues often occur after the whirlwind of holiday activities is over and our lives and work schedules return to normal.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 64% of the people polled said they were affected by post-holiday blues, and 24% said they were especially affected by the holidays.

If you’re anxious and irritable, having trouble sleeping and concentrating, or have low energy around the holidays, you may be dealing with post-holiday depression.

Thankfully, this post-holiday sadness doesn't hang around forever.

How long do post-holiday blues last?

The duration of post-holiday blues is different for everyone, but they usually last a short time rather than a long time.

There are some things you can do to get over the hump and into a better frame of mind.

Isn’t that good to know?

What can you do to overcome post-holiday depression?

Recognizing and naming the emotion you’re dealing with will help you pull out of the doldrums. The emotion driving this sadness is the feeling of loss, which feels a lot like depression.

In reality, you’re just adjusting to your schedule with less excitement. You feel let down because you’ve lost the level of activity you were engaged in during the holidays.

Some practical ways to overcome these blue feelings are

  • Being in the presence of others – the sound of a loved one’s voice will cheer you and allow you to reflect on the positive aspects of life
  • Go for a walk – getting out of the house for an invigorating walk will lift your spirits. It raises endorphins and helps clear your mind
  • Sleep – don’t feel guilty for taking a nap or turning in earlier than usual. Your state of mind will benefit greatly
  • Set goals for the coming year – nothing too overwhelming. Pick something you can manage and devise a plan to make it happen
  • Eat a nutrient-dense diet – whole grains, fish, dark chocolate, and green tea will help you deal with stress
  • Be patient – this too shall pass

One of the best ways to overcome post-holiday blues is by practicing being grateful.

Fight depression with gratitude

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8
As Joyce Meyer says, your thoughts affect every area of your life. Depression is a powerful tool the Enemy of your soul uses to steal your joy. You can combat this by practicing gratitude and thankfulness.

Gratitude is the state of being mindful and appreciative of the life and opportunities you’ve been given. Thankfulness is an emotional response to something good that’s happened. For example, you can be grateful for your house and that you have a place to live, but you’re thankful that your kids help you clean it.

So while thankfulness may be a temporary emotion, gratitude can be cultivated into a constant mindset that turns an ordinary day into one of joy.

Gratitude and thankfulness can be cultivated several ways

  1. Start a gratitude journal – jotting down one thing you’re grateful for before bedtime is helpful to remind yourself of your blessings
  2. Stay connected to those you love – good, solid relationships create more reasons to be grateful
  3. Say “thanks” – telling someone thank you or sending a thank-you note in the mail makes you and the receiver feel good

As Tennesse psychiatrists James and JR Greene put it, “You do not need something good to happen to have gratitude, and when bad things happen, your gratitude does not falter. You know that sad things are just a part of life, and you are happy with the life you lead.”

We at No More Dirty, Inc., hope you’ve had a happy holiday season and that you look forward to the new year with anticipation.

As a way of meditation, think on the words of Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

For more information and to check out our services, please visit our website at
post-holiday blues